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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Spilled water while macbook pro was ON!

Spilled water while macbook pro was ON!
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Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Aug 6, 2007, 11:41 PM
 
Sad that this is my first post here, but...

So today I was hooking up my speakers (just moved to a new apartment) and somehow managed to knock over my water bottle (which normally has a top on it) which began emptying it's contents into my 2 week old (well, technically from being recertified used) MBP. I figure maybe 3 oz of brita-filtered water poured into my baby. In a Panic, my sequence of actions was (after briefly noting a lack of smoke / sparks / anything wrong on screen)
1) close screen
2) unplug power adapter
3) tip out the water and dry keyboard off with paper towel
4) at this point, my macbook was in sleep mode with the power light pulsing slowly. good sign? maybe?
5) remove battery
6) put a fan on it for a couple hours, with the battery out and the RAM panel off (for ventilation) with the whole thing upside-down- keyboard parallel to the ground

after a few anxious hours i decide to try my luck - I was pretty cautious i thought, it should be fine! nothing.

after searching online for a bit, i've come to the conclusion that I should let it sit, at least a day or two, before i try again. I'm going to purchase a bigger fan (the one i have is a dinky plastic thing) but is there anything else I can try? I've gone through the procedures here so far to no avail. When i connect the AC adapter, I still get a green light and the battery seems fine (tests to a full charge).

If I have to, i could take it apart... but I'd really like to keep any semblance of a warranty i have left at this point. Any suggestions, beyond appealing to a higher authority?

D.
     
Mac Enthusiast
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Aug 6, 2007, 11:56 PM
 
Don't plug it in or put the battery in AT ALL. Wait at least 3-4 days. It seems like you've tried to plug it in more than a few times, which has undoubtedly damaged it. Let it dry completely before trying to boot it again.
     
lpranal  (op)
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Aug 7, 2007, 12:03 AM
 
Yikes, that's not at all what I was hoping to hear. Guess that's what I get for being an idiot.

I've had PC's that have had shorts on me before refuse to boot (no response at all), and then when the short was removed, it was fine. Any chance on something similar happening? I'm gonna be ready to shoot myself in 3-4 days but I guess it's time to suck it up...
     
lpranal  (op)
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Aug 10, 2007, 03:00 AM
 
Wait at least 3-4 days
Three days turned out to be sufficient

It seems like you've tried to plug it in more than a few times, which has undoubtedly damaged it.
Appears to be no damage at all, at this point. Thanks for the insight though...
     
Dedicated MacNNer
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Aug 11, 2007, 04:16 PM
 
Amazingly this is a pretty common story. I know of at least 3 people who have spilled coffee (Okay, me. I admit it... this was my powerbook g4) or some other liquid (one person had a water bottle open itself in a bag and the computer was soaked in 2" of water.

In all three cases, the computer came back to life after about a day or two. In all three cases the battery and power was pulled IMMEDIATELY following the spill.

On the other hand, a Motorola flip cell phone I put through the laundry didn't make it... but that's another story.

W
     
Dedicated MacNNer
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Aug 11, 2007, 04:17 PM
 
I should add that although the computer was fine, in the two cases where the screen got wet there was a weird back light "stain" that persisted even though the computer itself was usable...

W
     
Dedicated MacNNer
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Aug 11, 2007, 04:37 PM
 
Short version is if it happens to you, pull out all power sources, let dry for 3+ days before doing anything else.
     
Mac Enthusiast
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Aug 11, 2007, 06:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpranal View Post
Three days turned out to be sufficient



Appears to be no damage at all, at this point. Thanks for the insight though...
Thanks for rolling your eyes, by the way it may be working fine now, although by trying to power it up while it was wet I can tell you that it was damaged, potentially shortening the laptop's life. Water damage can be much like ESD damage, it's not immediate but it does affect the machine.

Anyways, I'm glad it is working. It always sucks to have something expensive break.
     
lpranal  (op)
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Aug 12, 2007, 01:22 PM
 
er, sorry about that just was a stressful couple of days... just not sure how water damage (esp softened water run through a filter, very very reduced minerals) is going to do anything if it's not allowing anything to power on- correct me if i'm wrong but the fact it wasn't powering on at ALL would have kept it from being damaged? Maybe i'm being ignorant here, but- no power flowing through the system = no damage?
     
Mac Enthusiast
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Aug 12, 2007, 01:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpranal View Post
er, sorry about that just was a stressful couple of days... just not sure how water damage (esp softened water run through a filter, very very reduced minerals) is going to do anything if it's not allowing anything to power on- correct me if i'm wrong but the fact it wasn't powering on at ALL would have kept it from being damaged? Maybe i'm being ignorant here, but- no power flowing through the system = no damage?
If it was plugged in and you tried to turn it on there was current running through the system. Whether or not the current allowed the machine to turn on is another story. The damage your machine sustained is most likely minimal, although in the future, just don't run electricity through wet electronics because it's very easy to ruin them. I've seen more than a few PB/iBook motherboards die from getting wet and then having the computer turned on.
     
Dedicated MacNNer
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Aug 14, 2007, 03:09 PM
 
this exact same thing happened to my wife and her machine was toast. Its vital that as soon as you spill anything to pull the battery and unplug. don't worry about sleep or shutting down. just get the electricity shut off as soon as possible.

i'm curious to the poster who said that it was undoubtedly damaged. Are you an engineer? What kind of damage you think would shorten the life of components but not cause their immediate failure? Please enlighten us

thanks,
zgz
     
Mac Elite
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Aug 14, 2007, 03:31 PM
 
Circuit boards are very sensitive. The logic board, obviously, is the largest circuit board in there. ESD is generally the main concern, then probably damage due to flexing, then sort sort of foreign object or liquid.

Most people don't know this... but they actually carry enough static charge on them to permanently damage a circuit board. And I'm not talking about just clothes rubbing and socks on carpet... just your touch having not been grounded is enough. I'm not saying it happens all the time... but it happens all the time. People short their boards without knowing it. Many circuit boards are pretty resilient though. They don't necessarily die immediately. But it will shorten the lifespan of the board. Think of it like a person... if you got shocked with a defibrillator (without the need of one), or hurt in some way.... you'll probably make it out okay. But who's to say that injury won't shorten your lifespan later? (weaker heart, etc)

Then there's flexing and stuff, this is obvious. But again, because they're pretty resilient, unless you're full on bending the boards, you should be okay.

Then there's foreign objects and liquids. This could be anything from a bug walking on the board to water and wine spilled on it. The obvious thing in all cases is this, when two contacts have a current run through them that aren't supposed to be contacted. This happens when people touch (ESD), bugs walk (through their legs or antennae), or liquid (completes a current). And again, doesn't necessarily kill things right away... but will shorten the lifespan. Maybe not noticeably... (say from 15 years to 10 years and you've already replaced your laptop at 5 years)... but it most likely has been damaged in some way.
     
lpranal  (op)
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Aug 20, 2007, 02:58 AM
 
Well, sadly, bballe336 was right about the shortened lifespan thing. Turns out the lifespan was reduced to about 2 days, just as I was getting used to having my machine back it died on me, again. Except this time, it didn't come back

This story does have a happy ending though, as the logic board was replaced under warranty

And I also bought a generic iskin-type keyboard protector off ebay. Works perfect. Let's just say that liquids are no longer allowed in the same ROOM with my MBP!
     
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Mar 16, 2008, 06:03 PM
 
turned my computer off right away took the battery out unplugged everything. set the computer on my heater. I let it sit there for 2 days before i turned it on. Turned it on, my keyboard was the only thing that didnt work . I then got a external keyboard and was using that for about 3 weeks when something remarkable happened. My keyboard suddenly came on and was working perfectly. I might be the only case of this happening but boy was i freaking out when i learned that it sudenly worked again (saved me $180) . I think i learned my lesson of putting the top on your water bottle before using your computer

I spilled half my water bottle on my Mac Book Pro and my computer lives to tell the tale
     
Mac Elite
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Mar 17, 2008, 04:04 PM
 
lesson learned from this thread: drink beer!
     
Moderator
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Mar 17, 2008, 05:05 PM
 
More important lesson: make a conscious effort not to have any liquids that could spill near your computer. If I'm eating and having a beverage while at my machine, I never drink over the computer and I always put the drink down on the other side of my cubicle (or other end of my desk at home). Very simple precautionary actions.

Steve
Celebrating 10 years and 4000 posts on MacNN!
     
Registered User
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Mar 20, 2008, 10:58 AM
 
When I was a car mechanic, we seemed to be the only shop in town with enough gumption to try and dry out the computer in flooded cars, as opposed to charging the customer a FORTUNE for a new computer unit. Worked every time.
     
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Mar 20, 2008, 03:20 PM
 
hey, at least you didn't throw it in a trash compactor
     
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Aug 3, 2008, 08:16 AM
 
My Macbook Pro is so screwed... It's the middle of the night, and after knocking my hand into my cup of water and sending the thing flying in the direction of my laptop, water all over the keyboard, I ran first to the other room for a towel. I guess I tried to mop it up while it was still sitting there, and then turned it upside down to try and tip any out. I was even satisfied that the thing looked dry. The computer was plugged into the power cord this whole while. I tried many times to turn it back on not realizing the risk And now I've just finished searching the web for info on what to do. Man.. and it's 2am.. I have a wedding shower to go to in the morning. So now that I'm done crying, and have unplugged it with the only part I could figure out how to remove off the back taken off.. I'm going to set it with a fan blowing on and pass out. If it's good and fried I guess I hope my applecare plan hasn't expired, and I'll wait a week before telling them I have no idea what happened, and it was like that when I woke up one morning. Otherwise... I have yet another reason to be depressed as hell. oh yay and I have to also do some of this but I'm really going to pass out
     
Forum Regular
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Aug 3, 2008, 08:56 AM
 
Repair mechanics, applecare especially, can often tell when there is water damage. In many electrics there is at least one tiny strip of paper that changes colors (often to pink) after coming into contact with water.
     
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Aug 3, 2008, 12:26 PM
 
     
   
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